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Golf Barometer: Rory: Love Comes with a Price

David Ferris

David Ferris

Ferris covers the PGA Tour for RotoWire. He is an award-winning sports writer and a veteran fantasy columnist. He also is a scratch golfer.

UPGRADE

Tiger Woods:
We'll see how the putter looks next week, but his ball striking was just about perfect in Ohio, especially on Sunday. When Tiger isn't even looking at his result off the tee, you know things are in a good place. The expectations on Woods are pretty much ridiculous in any season, but there's nothing wrong with a couple of wins and $2.9 million banked thus far.

Greg Owen:
He's made 11-of-15 cuts and grabbed just under $700K, a solid comeback year for a good guy who's had a score of injury problems. He's never going to be an accuracy master off the tee, but he bombs it more than 294 yards per swipe, and he's still a solid 12th in GIR. Recovery shots from off the map, that's one of his specialties.

J.B. Holmes:
He's not all the way back in form yet, but four big checks through the first five months sounds good to us - the guy is less than a year removed from brain surgery, after all. Holmes has never been known as a great iron player (or, specifically, a wedge player), but he's still a bomber off the tee and has always been an underrated putter. Watch out for him in the second half of the year.

DOWNGRADE

Rory McIlroy:
Maybe it will come together magically for him during the Memphis tune-up - he's the lone entrant from the Top 10, by the way - but McIlroy's run of three straight missed cuts is embarrassing. Maybe being a globetrotter and the beau of a famous tennis star comes with a price - sharpness on the course. And for that matter, Caroline Wozniacki hasn't been playing well, either.

Phil Mickelson:
He sulked his way through a 79 on Thursday, grousing internally about cell phones and the like, and then played the WD card after the round, citing "mental exhaustion." While you credit Mickelson for not making up a fake illness - as a lot of players might have - it wasn't the classiest move to show up Jack Nicklaus like that. Don't think Nicklaus didn't notice - when Nick Faldo asked Jack about Phil's exit, Nicklaus offered a terse "no comment." It would be a surprise if Mickelson's game came together in time for next week at Olympic Club.

Sand-Moon Bae:
Is this what the rookie wall looks like? Bae looked like an unstoppable force when he bagged a T2 at the Transitions Championship in mid-March, but he's earned just $54K since, missing four cuts in seven starts. Erratic iron play has been the biggest problem, and his scrambling (138th on Tour) hasn't been bailing him out, either. You can only put so much on your putter.

HOLDING STEADY

Rory Sabbatini:
His main problem in 2012 has been making cuts, scoring in the early rounds, but the situation was flipped at Jack's Place - quick start, then too many leaky shots on the weekend. Sabs stands 147th in total driving and 158th in ball striking, so forget about using him as a sleeper at next week's U.S. Open.

Steve Marino:
He's finally back on the circuit after a four-month layoff due to knee problems. A 74-75 start ended his Memorial pretty quickly, but Marino has always been a feel player anyway - this is going to take some time.

Spencer Levin:
Was the moment too big for him Sunday? Levin is 40th or better in scoring for each of the first three rounds this year, but his rank soars to 111th on Sundays. If he can finally bag that first victory, look out - there's a strong player here (especially on the greens). But the first victory hoist is always the toughest.

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